Before discussing Yellowstone itself, we’re going to talk about the logistics with respect to getting there. For an RVer, it’s a massive undertaking. For me, it was the hardest move of anything since moving to California from Georgia. Understand this: getting to Yellowstone from the eastern or southern U.S. is much harder than going from the West Coast because it’s simply a remote region of the country. My friend, let’s call him “Don” says it’s a 1.5 day trip for him. For us coming from south Texas, it was three days. Let’s put it this way: We started 150 miles from Mexico, and ended 370 miles from Canada. Thinking about it that way, maybe we should have put Glacier on the destination list. Maybe 2017. We didn’t even have to get over the Bighorns, a mountain range between northeastern Wyoming and Yellowstone, but did have to endure the Absaroka range.
660 of our 1521 mile route to Yellowstone was through Texas, the least exciting portion of our trip. The Llano is boring. We ended up staying in Amarillo, TX. Of the “fun” facts, we used Interstate 10, 20 and 40 on the first (and last) day of our trip, three of the East-West long haul highways in America. I believe Illinois is the only other state where that’s even possible. I would recommend making your reservations a week in advance. You want to be able to reach your destination, and you want to be able to stay where you plan to go. We figured 500 miles or so in a day was a good pace for towing a vehicle. As it turned out, our destination RV park, Amarillo Ranch was totally full both times we arrived. Amarillo Ranch is stereo-typically Texan and proudly portrays itself as such. It even offers free shuttles to the “Big Texan”, a place where you can attempt to eat a 72 oz roast along with sides for free in one hour. If you exceed one hour, you get a hell of a bill.
We stayed on F.E. Warren AFB in the Fam Camp for our second night. This location is a destination in itself. F.E. Warren is a intercontinental ballistic missile base, meaning there is not much happening on the base itself. The silos are scattered across the region, so most activity is out there. F.E. Warren is beautiful, with antelope in the protected environment of a military installation. This means the wing commander there considers them HIS antelope, which means if you harm them, you’re the worst human being ever … AND you’re done for career-wise. The sky was glorious, with little light pollution so it was as clear as Yellowstone at night. F.E Warren on the other hand, offers the minimal services you could expect on an military installation, meaning while there is a commissary, it happened to be closed on the day we left.
The final day was the shortest distance-wise, but the hardest; getting across central Wyoming is no joke. Up to the point we reached Casper, I was making 12.3 mpg of diesel. After departing Casper, that number went to 8.1 mpg. You’re trying to make time against the prevailing wind, which is more of a crosswind. Make no mistake, Wyoming is a huge state and a huge challenge.
If you RV into Yellowstone from the east, you must stop at the Cody Walmart. If there’s anything you’re going to need, get it at Cody going in because it’s going to be a tremendous pain in the ass to get otherwise. Here’s something you might read but find hard to believe: It’s 70 miles from Cody into Fishing Bridge RV park. Its *** essential *** to get reservations at Fishing Bridge, it makes the park that much easier to visit. Did you just see where I wrote its 70 miles from Cody to Fishing Bridge? That means it’s 100 miles to Old Faithful. 120 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs. 200 miles to Jackson. Those are one-way trips folks — across Sylvan Pass, at 8531 feet. They closed Sylvan Pass one day while we were there. While West Yellowstone MT is a possible destination for RVers, consider Canyon is a day trip from there. From Fishing Bridge, we would visit Canyon to get ice cream and look at bison along the way.
Did I mention its essential to stay at Fishing Bridge RV Park? This park offers very little in the way of amenities but is in the center of Yellowstone. We drove about 1100 miles in our eight days in the park. Consider this: If we had spent 8 days commuting from the park from Cody, that would have been over 1100 miles alone. Fishing Bridge does not have television at ALL, meaning not even over the air TV. It does not have WIFI, meaning you are internet-less. One cool feature we had was a Verizon Wireless hotspot. I knew there was no WIFI but I also know of all providers, Verizon does the best job of service. We did have internet and although it was slow, we knew something about what was happening outside the park.Yellowstone chooses to be communications-less. They sent a message about the South Entrance closing to all phones in the region, even though they had no service.
Two other features about Fishing Bridge: One section of the RV park is in terrible condition. By terrible, I mean potholes. They told us a contractor in charge of resurfacing the roads had pulled out. Then I found out the same excuse is made annually. The cleanliness of the RV park. The facilities are fairly well maintained, except for those roads.
The RV park also advertises a 2100 hours exhibit in the amphitheater hosted by U.S. Park Service Rangers. These are interesting and reveal the extreme knowledge held by the Rangers.